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Sunday, March 30, 2014

How To Publish For Profit -- Really!


Publishing for Profit: Successful Bottom-Line Management for Book Publishers launched its fifth edition and any small publisher looking to survive or grow will find the guidance and resources useful. The Associated Press has called it “the bible of the industry.”

Publishing for Profit (Chicago Review Press, April 2014) is written by Thomas Woll, the president of Cross River Publishing Consultants. He has held a variety of executive positions in publishing, among them vice president and general manager of the professional and trade division of John Wiley & Sons, publisher of Stoney Communications/Garden Way, and vice president and publisher of Rodale Press’ book division.

Woll’s book has been updated four times since it debuted 15 years ago. The newest version consists of information and guidance on:

·         Today’s publishing environment
·         Protecting your assets: contracts, copyrights, trademarks, cash
·         The editorial process
·         Book production and manufacturers
·         Sales and marketing plans
·         Subsidiary rights
·         Direct response marketing
·         Operations, fulfillment, and accounting
·         Digital publishing

Woll writes: “We have seen the rapid transition from a print-based industry to a digital-based industry, particularly in the professional and academic segments, but increasingly, as well, in the trade segment; from a very clearly defined, and tested, print business model to much more amorphous, fluid, and just-being-tested digital business model to much more amorphous, fluid, and just-being-tested digital business models; from an inventory-laden print-and-deliver system to an inventory-minimal deliver-and-print system.”

It is clear that the book publishing landscape and marketplace have changed dramatically in the past five years.

“The one sure thing is that the current norms will change,” says Woll. “By understanding the fundamentals of industry and your business, by becoming completely familiar with the process of strategically planning and managing your company, by putting in place the proper templates and management structures so your staff understands what you want and how you want it, you will have done your job. Then, no matter what the future brings, your company will succeed.

“So what does this mean for the future? The one certainty is that the publishing process will continue to evolve. In my crystal ball, I see a future in which:

·         Publishers emphasize more direct-to-consumer online sales.
·         There is greater, though slower, growth of e-book sales and use.
·         There is greater use of print-on-demand and smaller print runs.
·         Independent bookstores stabilize as the chains falter.
·         More emphasis is placed on special and non-traditional sales.
·         There is greater mobile phone and “mini” tablet book readership.
·         There are continued mergers of the largest publishers (Simon & Schuster-HarperCollins?).
·         Greater use is made of cloud-based computer systems to run and track the business.
·         There is a continued reduction of fixed costs and an increase of variable costs by reducing staff and/or selling warehouses, buildings, and equipment.
·         What all of this means for the publisher is that it must target more, plan more carefully, and budget  better than ever before.”

The future of book publishing, regardless of changes in technology, will still depend on one’s ability to create a worthwhile product and to invest in marketing it accordingly. As long as publishers and authors follow the steps in Woll’s book, the future could be bright.

SPEAKERS TOOLKIT FOR AUTHORS



Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Les Miserables: Best Book I’ve Never Read


I have never read my favorite book of all.

I recently saw Les Miserables, back on Broadway, for a ninth time and it reaffirmed my unbridled love for the writings of Victor Hugo.

Les Miserables, if you have never seen the play, read the book, watched the recent movie adaption, or viewed the PBS special, is about the first few decades in France’s 19th century, one filled with poverty and political rebellion.  The play is dark and filled with one song or scene after another about how lousy life is.  But there’s an underlying theme of how faith and love can sustain the human spirit and triumph over the obscene abuses of a demoralized society.

Even though the play focuses on the bad times – civil unrest, abject poverty, crime filled streets, prostituted souls, and injustice everywhere – it taps into the heart of the human condition and how one can have an inner conviction to rise above the gutter of humanity.

I just can’t get enough of this story.  Many, like my sister, view the play as depressing, filled with constant reminders that life presents challenges that can doom many.  But I see the glass as half-full, as an optimist.  I’m encouraged by the play's grit, its drive to dream and hope, its unfettered pursuit for happiness.

There is a line in the play that sums it up: “To love another is to see the face of God.”  Pure and simple.  Don’t worry about right and wrong or the struggles you may have.  Find yourself in the love of another.

The big chunk of the story centers around the notion of justice and the law.  Javert is a towering prison guard turned police officer who spends decades chasing down a man, John Valjean, who once served 19 years in prison for stealing bread to feed a starving nephew, and who had broken terms of his parole.

It seems the cop is blind to the bigger injustices of society but zeros in on serving the rule of law and not its heart.  He mercilessly hunts down a man who is no more a criminal than himself, a man who desperately wants to repay a debt and live a life of normalcy.

The play has turned me on to Hugo – who shares the same birthday as me, save for 165 years – and his other works.  I hope to read his books, such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  He was an outspoken revolutionary and humanitarian and a wondrous talent.

I may never read my favorite book of all, but I can hum every word of it.  Go see Les Miserables.  It’ll leave you feeling depressed, angry, and sad – as well as hopeful, inspired, and strong.


SPEAKERS TOOLKIT FOR AUTHORS

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fiction Bestsellers Trump Non-Fiction Bestsellers



Do people invest in buying books that help them- or just help them escape?

Certainly many people buy fiction and non-fiction books but a look at a recent list of PW Bestsellers (March 10-16), shows each of the top 12 hardcover fiction titles outsold each of the top hardcover non-fiction books.

In fact, the top three fiction hardcover books combined to outsell the nonfiction hardcover books, 55,000 to 34, 000. No contest.

Interestingly, people were willing to pay more for fiction than non-fiction, in some cases. The non-fiction top 25 hardcovers had one book below $24 (the bottom price on a fiction hardcover) - at $18 and another at a low price of $9.99. But the 10- dollar book could only place 21st in sales.

Only 22 hardcover books on the lists sold more than 5,000 in the week. This means all other hardcover books struggle to average just 100 copies sold per state (50 x 100).

Only 11 of the 50 hardcover best-sellers made the list in their first full week out. But that means once you make the list, you have a reasonable shot of staying on it.

If we look at the bestselling hardcover books for all of 2013, Inferno by Dan Brown (fiction), topped the lists with 1.7 million copies sold. Bill O’Reilly had the top non-fiction hardcover book- Killing Jesus- with 1.5 million copies. 18 hardcover books sold 500,000+ copies- split evenly amongst fiction and non-fiction.

Regardless of format, Americans are buying more units of books than ever before. This is something to celebrate- whether you like fiction or non-fiction, print or e-book.

SPEAKERS TOOLKIT FOR AUTHORS

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Thursday, March 27, 2014

How To Keep on Top Of Book Industry News & Trends


If you want to keep up with what’s going on in the world of book publishing, aside from subscribing to www.BookMarketingBuzzBlog.blogspot.com, do as follows:

Read Digital Publications, such as these:

Book Business Magazine

Digital Book World 

Publishers Lunch

PW Daily

Read printed publications, such as:

·         ALA Booklist
·         Book Business Magazine
·         ForeWord Reviews
·         Kirkus Reviews
·         Library Journal
·         Independent Publishing Magazine
·         Publishers Weekly

Contact these associations and groups:

American Booksellers Association

Book Industry Study Group

Independent Book Publishers Association

Association of American Publishers

American Library Association

Publishers Communications Industry Forecast

International Digital Publishers Forum

Publishing Trends

SPEAKERS TOOLKIT FOR AUTHORS

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How To Make & Influence Friends On Twitter


Twitter just turned eight years old.  With over 500 million tweets posted daily, how does one hope to break through the clutter and make meaningful connections?

First, think about who you want to be online and on Twitter.  Are you posting personal information for the fun of it?  (Just went to the #Knicks game – they are on a #playoff push).  Is it to boost your career?  (#Worked an 11-hour day to ensure new #product launch went well) Are you promoting or selling something like a book? (Please #read my new #book, Confessions of a #Crazy Book #Publicist). Make sure your tweets are consistent with the voice and content that you share on your social media site and make sure they are focused to meet your objective – promote your brand, sell  books, help others.

Second, determine how much time daily and weekly you will devote to Twitter.  This time can be used to post tweets, respond to tweets, survey what’s being posted, network through direct tweets, and to research people you want to contact and connect with.

Third, think about what content your tweets will focus on.  Will you tweet links to your blog, website, and FB page?  Will your tweets comment on other tweets?  Will you react to industry news and news of the day?  Will you tweet statements or questions? Will you tweet images or words?

Fourth, determine what types of people you want to connect with on Twitter.  Let’s say you wrote a diet book.  You would want to connect with other experts and authors, as well as the media, and of course those interested in your topic who may buy the book.  Make a list of words you’d like to search so that you can find people that match your needs.  For instance, “nutritionists” or “wellness facilities” or “medical practices” or “health magazine reporters” would be good search terms.

Fifth, similar to number four, think of the hashtags (#) you want to use for your tweets.  Use them daily.  You can also search under these hashtags to learn what’s been posted on the subject and by whom.

Your list may include the following:

·         #Diet
·         #Diets
·         #Dieter
·         #Dieters
·         #Dieting
·         #Weight
·         #WeightLoss
·         #Health
·         #Healthy
·         #Healthiest
·         #Healthier
·         #Medical
·         #Wellness
·         #Holistic
·         #Exercise
·         #Exercising
·         #Workout
·         #Gym
·         #GymRat
·         #HealthNut
·         #Fit
·         #InShape
·         #Fitness
·         #Fitness
·         #HotBody
·         #HardBody
·         #Nutrition
·         #Nutritionist
·         #Nutritionists
·         #Doctor
·         #Doctors
·         #Vegan
·         #Vegetarian
·         #Vegetarians

The list could go on and on, especially when you factor in specific topics and themes from your book.

For additional tips on using twitter to promote and market your book and brand, feel free to click on this Twitter Toolkit For Writers & Publicists: Book Marketing Twitter Toolkit

SPEAKERS TOOLKIT FOR AUTHORS



Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Should You Market Your Book In Just Four States?


The United States will surpass 320 million legal residents this year. Scattered amongst the 50 states are 117 million households. 71 million households say they are “family households,” and 38 million of them have children under 18 years of age. But what is most interesting is that 30% of America – over 100,000,000 people – live in just four states – California, Texas, New York, and Florida. Should book marketers, publishers, and authors just focus on those states?

Think about it. Why try to sell a book across six million square miles in the continental states – plus Alaska and Hawaii – when you can zero in on four states? Within those states, there are a handful of large metropolitan areas that account for scores of millions of people, including: New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, Long Island, Orlando, San Francisco, Dallas, Buffalo, San Antonio, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, San Diego, West Palm Beach, and Austin.

Many books don’t have geographic boundaries. A book on relationships, diets, parenting, wealth, or cooking may not be tied to a particular region, state, or city. But maybe the more profitable publisher would do well by just putting out books that appeal to those states. Writers should just focus their content on these states as well. Heck, one in eight Americans live in California. Why look beyond that one state?

When it comes to fiction, characters, and plots should revolve around New Yorkers, Texans, Floridians, and Californians. Your marketing should just zero in on those states as well.

Some publishers, marketers, and writers already think and act this way – focus on a handful of states and forget the rest. Politicians, movie houses, and television shows are also aware of this phenomenon.

Others purposely publish for the rest of America, for the two-thirds of a big pie that have nothing to do with the four biggest states. Why ignore a lucrative market, right?

So you can go either way, but not necessarily both. To be pro-New York or Texas-centric is almost to eliminate places like Montana or to be even anti-Chicago. And to focus on places like Kentucky, South Dakota, and Rhode Island is to purposely not cater to California. But if a book can somehow embrace distinct opposites and rally people of all locations, sizes, and shapes to buy in, you’d have a gold rush.


SPEAKERS TOOLKIT FOR AUTHORS

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Monday, March 24, 2014

How Much Is A Word Worth?


There’s no doubt that the monetization of words is way down in the world of writing. We are generating more free content in 2014 than I bet the entire book industry sold in 1984. Think about that. Add up the blog posts and books that are available for free. Millions and millions of words become available every minute online – at no charge. This is impacting what one can charge for their books.

The average sales price of an e-book keeps dropping and as the share of all book sales increasingly moves towards digital, the average cost per word is in a free-fall. And in today’s marketing-must world, more writers give out more free content and social media commentary to promote the content that they now get paid less for.

It seems writers are working not only against each other, but themselves.

The solution? Write less, give away less. Raise prices and become scarcer. We must reverse this tide of cheap excess. We’re choking on our own words.

Now, step away from the financial side and look at the value of your words in terms of your ability to be heard and to influence others. Again, because of the clutter -- free and paid – the voices of each writer are diluted and dismissed.

If your book was one of the 44,000 published in 1988, your voice was small. Today, if you are one of the million new books published in 2013 – on top of the millions of books previously published and now in print, your voice is tiny. Add to it the magazines, newspapers, blogs, and social media postings and the billions, no trillions, of words circulating at any one moment it is mind-boggling. It’s amazing any singular thought or message can be communicated on a large scale.

Maybe none of this matters. Writers write, no matter the odds of being heard or compensated. Writing is the creative, therapeutic, and philanthropic outlet to many. We can’t stop ourselves from writing, even if the burden of the volumes of words is negating the very impact we hope to make with our words.

I guess I’ve said enough. This blog is adding to the word pollution that causes our books to be no bigger than a needle in a barn of hay.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

What Informs Writers?


We always look at novelists and wonder where their book ideas come from and how closely linked, on some level, they are to their subject matter. If writers usually write what they know, don’t they write from experience in some fashion?

On the other hand, murder mysteries aren’t written by murderers or only former cops. Science fiction movies aren’t penned by space aliens and vampire tales aren’t written by superhuman beasts. So where do they draw their inspiration from?

I think writers tap into something- a moment in life, a person they know, an emotion they felt, a state of mind they experienced- in order to really write from an honest perspective. If I’m correct, more authors are more unstable than we realize. 


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Writers and their legacy

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Jon Stewart: My Hero & Yours!


If you look back over the past 25 years – when I entered the world of book promotions – there have been many, many media personalities that knew how to grab attention over a sustained period of time.  Some were flash in the pans, like Morton Downey, Jr., and others have been around for decades, including Barbara Walters, Howard Stern, Don Imus, Oprah, Rush Limbaugh, and David Letterman.

I hate but admire Ann Coulter of Fox News.  Bill O’Reilly is no friend to liberals but should be admired.  Larry King, Geraldo, Jim Lehrer, Jerry Springer, Stephen Colbert, Sean Hannity, and Bill Maher know how to provoke dialogue and blood pressure.  But I think the top media personality is  Jon Stewart, of the award-winning, format-pioneering The Daily Show.  He is the best of the best. 

I grew up thinking Phil Donahue was the best talk-show personality ever.  For his era he was the best.  Oprah took a similar formula and made it spectacular.  Today we lack a daily talk show during the daytime that pushes the direction of the country.  The most creative talent has moved to late night.  From 11:00 pm EST until around 2:00 am, the best compete against one another.  It is such a tough landscape that the top- rated guy, Jay Leno, was dismissed only because networks are jockeying to get younger viewers.

From 11-12pm EST,  you have Arsenio, Conan, Kimmel, Letterman, Colbert, Stewart, Fallon and others battling for attention.  At 12:30 pm EST there are others looking for viewers too.  But the morning shows, evening network news, and daytime talkers are all in decline – in terms of quality, ratings, and quantity of shows.

Give me Stewart, 24-7.  It’s time he has his own channel, the way Howard Stern practically runs XM-Sirius satellite radio.  Stewart’s only flaw is he giggles like a girl – he really does – but his brilliance shines day in and day out in  a formula he developed but that never gets old.  He’s a master interviewer (I wish he had more time with his guests) and his daily news-driven monologue, supplemented with faux interviews and wacky sketches are fan favorites.

He’s spawned talent, such as Colbert and Steve Carrell.  It’s obvious that Stewart is a real thinker who uses humor to hide his true desire to fix this screwed-up world.  He has a way, with those cleverly edited pieces, to really show you who is a hero and who is a villain.

Judge Stewart?  President Stewart?  Just give me more of The Daily Show, 24-7!


SPEAKERS TOOLKIT FOR AUTHORS

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

Why Your Book Marketing Emails Fail


Your book marketing email is sure to fail most of the time, no matter how well you write it, no matter how great the offer is.  But you only need a certain percentage of favorable respondents to make the email campaign a success.

So why do 75%-98% of recipients never buy from you?

1.      The email bounced back and is no longer good.  Emails change every day – update your list.

2.      You emailed the wrong person at an organization.  The HR secretary may not be as good as hitting the manager of training and development for a book about improving your sales skills.

3.      You contacted the wrong organization.  A pool cleaning company doesn’t need a parenting book.

4.      Your email was picked up by a spam filter.

Ok, this may already doom half of your list.  Let’s continue.

5.      You didn’t make a clear call to action.

6.      Your call to action was rejected because you didn’t show why it was necessary.

7.      Your offer is nothing exceptional and perhaps a lousy one compared to others.

8.      Your email had errors in it.

9.      Your email looked unappealing – font, color, images, length, margins.

10.  The person reading your email is an intern, assistant or spouse who can’t fully appreciate what you wrote and thus it doesn’t get forwarded to your intended recipient.

Ok, we’re not done yet.  But you get the point.  Any number of factors – alone or in conjunction with one another – can and will lead your mass email campaign to rejection.

But, for the emails that make it through to the right person and they take the time to open them, how will you influence them to take an action step?

First, read my earlier post on creating the perfect book marketing email (http://bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/2014/03/creating-perfect-book-marketing-email.html).  

Second, embrace the following pointers: 

1.      Know what your reader’s point of view is and craft an email that supports or challenges it.

2.      Determine how you’ll write to people you don’t know.  How can you address their concerns, fears, or suspicions?

3.      Decide what your reader needs to know.  What is the most important point?

4.      Think about how you’ll organize your email.  Map it out so you see in which order you introduce certain bits of information.

5.      Consider that your email will be read on mobile devices.  How will this impact what you present?

6.      Examine how descriptive you are.  Are you vague or specific?  Are you wordy and confusing – or concise and clear?

7.      Read your email for a tone check.  Are you abrupt or polite?  Are you casual or professional?  Do you sound energized or unenthusiastic?

8.      Is your email too long or too short?

9.      Do you state early on why you are writing to them and how you know them – or why you reached out to them, even if a stranger?

10.  Do you avoid repetition of phrases or words?

11.  Use words the recipient will understand.

The secret sauce to crafting great book marketing emails is really this: Avoid all of the obvious mistakes and groom your mailing list.  Once you get past all of the filters and holdbacks, your email will be read and if it makes a decent offer it will be acted upon.

Good luck!



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http://bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/2014/01/a-glimpse-into-the-future-for-your-book.html

Working your own book publicity miracle

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.